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12/06/2021

CVS enters digital health partnership with Microsoft

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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CVS Health and Microsoft logo
CVS Health is focusing on innovative healthcare solutions.

CVS Health is embarking on a new partnership with Microsoft to create innovative solutions to help consumers improve their health. 

The drugstore giant is building on an existing collaboration with Microsoft Corp. to help accelerate the development of a data-driven, personalized, privacy-compliant customer experience. By combining information from different areas across the company, CVS Health seeks to enhance its omnichannel pharmacy capabilities and deliver customized, omnichannel health recommendations.

CVS Health will also scale up retail loyalty and personalization programs that use advanced machine learning (ML) models running on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing service. The company currently leverages Azure services like computer vision and text analytics to automate healthcare-related tasks.

Utilizing it a strategic platform, CVS Health will migrate over 1,500 new and existing business applications to Azure cloud. Microsoft and CVS Health will also explore technology solutions, such as Microsoft HoloLens, Dynamics 365 Guides, and Remote Assist, that can support customers, employees, and healthcare partners. can simplify complex procedures with intuitive tools to help support CVS Health employees.

The companies also plan to extend Microsoft Azure AI and cognitive capabilities to automate administrative and predictive processes and reduce waste. In addition, the retailer will use Microsoft Teams and Office products to enable retail employees to have better access to customer health information.

CVS Health has been transforming itself into a digital health solutions provider. The company took a major step in this direction when it purchased Aetna Inc. for nearly $70 billion in late 2018, creating a new health-care powerhouse that brings together one of the nation’s largest drug store operators and pharmacy benefit managers with the country’s third-biggest health insurance company. The company launched a digital service called Aetna Virtual Primary Care in August 2021, including omnichannel features such as a continuous relationship with a virtual care physician, a virtual nurse care team, and access to other existing Aetna virtual care offerings.

Other innovative steps CVS has taken in the area of healthcare include partnering with IBM Watson Advertising to enable chat-style, one-to-one interactions and targeted mobile promotions designed to encourage flu shots, as well as offering a proprietary solution called “Spoken Rx” that can read prescription information aloud at all of its pharmacy locations.

"We are rapidly transforming into a consumer-centric, integrated health solutions company, taking a digital-first, technology-forward approach to all that we do," said Roshan Navagamuwa, CIO, CVS Health. "Business services at this scale requires a new level of partnership. Our collaboration with Microsoft will accelerate this work and empower our employees to provide quality care that is more personal and affordable."

"We are excited to partner with CVS Health on its digital transformation journey, collaborating together on how the company manages health data at scale, improves the customer experience, and drives operational efficiency," said Judson Althoff, Microsoft's chief commercial officer. “We will combine the power of data, the expansive reach of CVS Health's world-class solutions, and Microsoft Teams to connect health care experts and create customized care and services that enable people to live healthier lives."

CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health, operates nearly 10,000 stores, including over 1,700 pharmacies inside of Target and Schnucks grocery stores.